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The Benefits of Being Stuck

By Claudette Rowley

You know what you want. You have a vision and a plan. You try to implement that plan but for some reason you can't. You are officially "stuck" You feel like you can't move forward, but can't discern why. You say to yourself "Okay, today I'm going to get that proposal written. No matter how I feel, I'm going to sit down and do it." But you can't - not matter how hard you try. You might feel grumpy, confused or mad at yourself and possibly the world.

Consider my advice to give yourself a break. Being stuck is different than good, old-fashioned procrastination. And it's not a sign that you lack self-discipline, determination or perseverance. You might be persevering with the best of them and still feel like you're getting nowhere fast.

While being stuck may feel uncomfortable, it's actually an opportunity. It's your soul's way of pointing out that there is something you need to see, understand, learn or experience before you'll be ready to make your vision a reality.

How does being stuck serve you? Being stuck:

  • Forces you to step back and reflect on what you really want.
  • Gives you time and space to let an underlying issue emerge.
  • Gives you an opportunity to receive the help and assistance you need.
  • Lets you pause and focus on any fears.
  • Lets you rest and recharge. The well of energy has run dry and this is your body's way of enforcing its need for sleep and stillness.

So what should you do? Stay put. Relax. Keep an open mind. The reason for being stuck usually becomes clear when the timing is right - and that's usually not until after you stop thinking about being stuck.

Personally, I find few things more frustrating than feeling really stuck. It reminds me of being caught in the middle of a boxing ring, rushing the ropes and being bounced back into the middle of the ring. Argh!!

Having recently triumphed from my own bout of being stuck recently, I'll offer some ideas and steps that I found helpful:

  • Listen to what you really want in each moment. For example, deep down, I really wanted to do nothing at all for a few days. And nothing worked until I took that break.
  • Identify what kind of help you need, if any. Do you know someone who could shed some light on how you're feeling or offer you some practical or technical assistance?
  • Ask yourself "Am I bored?" "Am I scared?" "Am I just tired?"
  • Also ask yourself "What do I need right now?"
  • Notice if there's anything in your life that you've been avoiding, no matter how small.

Although it isn't fun to experience, the result of being stuck can actually be as rewarding as winning a platinum title belt during a first-round knockout. Being stuck can bring many new insights and self-knowledge. Most of the time, being stuck is a precursor to spectacular mental breakthroughs and a heightened awareness that leads to a successful life outside of the boxing ring.

So if you're feeling stuck, give yourself a timeout. Coach yourself to lighten up a bit to get refreshed and recharged. The reward could be well worth a few days spent being down for the count.

© Copyright © 2006 Claudette Rowley
Claudette Rowley, coach and author, helps professionals identify and pursue their true purpose and calling in life. Learn more at Claudette Rowley.com.
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